The Champions Series Wins Points For Excitement

NWA Powerrr Review: July 21st

The current iteration of the NWA has made a big point of its love and respect for the Alliance’s legacy and tradition. One of the easiest ways a promotion can instil a sense of legacy is through its champions, evoking the past and pushing the present. The Corgan-led NWA has done a great job of this so far, with the likes of its Ten Pounds of Gold series giving a sports documentary-like feel to its treatment of Sweet Charlotte, those who hold it, those who held it, and those who hunger for it. Now the NWA takes that sporting, serious presentation of its belts one step further with the introduction of the ‘Champions Series’ on this week’s edition of Powerrr!

The Champions Series is a fascinating concept that looks to push some of the best talent in the promotion and showcase them in the context of being title-worthy, via a sporting league that has future title opportunities built-in as rewards as part of the concept. As Nick Aldis pointed out in the show, title opportunities are earned and given through merit. What better way to earn that merit than by proving your mettle in a series entirely built around the idea of championships?

Let’s break down this week’s episode of Powerrr and what we know about the Champions Series so far.

The Concept

The Champions Series works on the basis that four different teams of wrestlers, each team led by one current Champion and one legend currently involved with the company, will compete against each other in a points-based league. Different points will be given depending on whether a match is won by pinfall, submission, count-out, or disqualification. Each member of the winning team will receive an open title shot that they can redeem whenever they like. Meanwhile, the winning team captain will be safe for a year from facing any of his teammates in a title match. Or they can get a shot at a different title should they prefer.

I like the idea of different winning methods earning different amounts of points, as it means that it isn’t just about winning but how you win. And the idea of a team captain being able to choose a shot at a different title is a tantalizing prospect. Imagine, for example, Pope’s team wins. Pope gets screwed out of his seventh TV title win so can’t challenge for the Ten Pounds of Gold. Except he can, he’s earned the right from winning the Champions Series!

This Champions Series is going to be fun.

The Production

NWA Champions Series logo
Credit: NWA

There were no matches on this week’s show, but that was fine; the focus was on putting over and setting the scene for the Champions Scene and it did a great job of doing so. A match might have broken things up, but it might potentially have disrupted the excitement as the episode built up nicely from the reveal of the concept to the introduction of the captains and the wrestlers, the picks, and the setting up of the matches. There was a nice logical narrative drive to how the episode progressed and that helped to sustain the excitement throughout.

A voiceover man helped to introduce the different parts of the show and give explanations as to what was happening, and Joe Galli and Tim Storm chipped in at times to keep it clear as to what was happening.

The start of the show saw the Champions interviewed about who their pick for Legend would be. This helped bring that element of character to the show without diluting the sports feel of the whole. The Champions then opened a folder to find out which legend they were paired with. Nick Aldis had spoken moments earlier about respecting Melina but not wanting to work with her. His silent, unimpressed face, when he opened his folder, spoke a thousand words.

There were lots of lovely little touches like this throughout; Aron Stevens struggling to get a word in with Taryn Tarrell, keeping his cool but giving the game away with his little facial expressions; Austin Idol calling Kamille crazy for not making Tyrus their first pick; Melina getting frustrated at Aldis constantly patronizing her. It added an extra dimension to proceedings and made it clear there were lots of little stories going to be told here.

The episode only ran 35 minutes, but it didn’t need to run any longer. Any more would have been information overload. Ultimately, this worked very well as a special episode that served to showcase what was to come in the coming weeks.

The Drafts & Picks

The NWA Champion Series team picks
Credit: NWA

One notably interesting thing coming out of the twenty wrestlers chosen to compete is that the names pretty much make sense. Allowing for the fact that the NWA doesn’t have the deepest roster at the moment, I think the names picked were the right ones. The twenty are made up of people who have been Champions or those that could conceivably be champions in the near future.

That means no predominant Tag Team wrestlers involved, outside of Kratos and The War Kings; no Hawk Aerie, no The End, no La Rebellion. Relative newcomers like Captain Yuma and El Rudo, both of whom still need to demonstrate big wins in the company, are not included. But the likes of Jordan Clearwater, Fred Rosser, JTG, Mimms, and Slice Boogie are talents you could conceivably see in the mid-card and the main event of the card in the future. It makes sense to give them the rub of Championship credibility by taking part in the Championship Series.

Looking at the teams, there are some interesting picks to observe. Kamille and Idol have more of a mix of talent and experience. Kratos will be a game-changer an able replacement for the size of Tyrus, who Idol is wasn’t able to get because Kamille picked her fiancé, Thom Latimer. Will, that come back to bite her though, should Latimer lose, and would that cause tension?

The ‘Aron & Taryn Connection’ meanwhile have picked a team of newer, fresher talent in the likes of Lady Frost, Marsha Rockett, and Jordan Clearwater, topped off by two more experienced grapplers in Tyrus and JTG. Will that mix of hunger and experience be a strong enough combination to lead them to victory?

Nick Aldis and Melina seem to have made some shrewd choices with their picks. The inverse of Aron and Steven’s picks, their team is more weighted to experience with the likes of Crimson, Rosser, and Plunkett leading the charge. Boogie and Skye Blue, relatively newer names, bring up the back. Will that wealth of experience provides Aldis and Melina with more opportunities for wins? Or will it be the hungry newcomers that will surprise you?

Last but not least, Pope and Velvet Sky perhaps have the wild card group, with no experienced brutes in Jax Dane and Trevor Murdoch. Both are also former gold holders in the NWA, it must be remembered. Jennacide is reasonably new but has proven she can go in the ring. Meanwhile, Colby Corino has proved himself to be unpredictable and the Mystery Man is an enigma of a man. Will that play to the team’s strength or detriment?

The Matches

NWA Champions Series Block A matches
Credit: NWA

The matches have been split into one team against the other, making two blocks of matches. In Block A, Team Kamille and Idol have been pitted against Team Stevens and Terrell initially, with each team taking teams at putting their wrestlers in slots so that opponents had to think tactically as to where they’d put their own wrestlers.

This led to some interesting matches being made. Latimer appears to have gotten the easier end of the deal by being bracketed with Marshe Rockett. Could Latimer take him too lightly though? There’s an outside chance Rockett could sneak the victory there. Meanwhile, Mimms and JTG will meet in the battle of the big strong boys. I think I’d give the nod to JTG there; he’ll want to prove himself again after coming up short to Chris Adonis in the final for the National Title. Talking of battles of the big strong boys, Tyrus and Kratos should be a complete old-school hoss fight. Let’s not forget that neither man is afraid to bend the rules, shall we say.

Then there’s Lady Frost and Kenzie Paige, which should be a solid match. I think Frost will take the win there, though. Her reputation proceeds her and, taking nothing away from Kenzie, she is damn good.

NWA Champions Series Black B matches
Credit: NWA

Meanwhile, over in Block B, Trevor Murdoch and Fred Rosser are set to clash in what is a big match for both men, what with trying to prove he is worthy of being the main man in the NWA and Fred Rosser trying to prove he belongs there too. I do wonder if their disagreement after Rosser threw in the towel for JTG in the National Title match could play a factor in this match. Murdoch didn’t like Rosser’s actions. Could Rosser have taken that to heart? I expect Murdoch to win but Rosser would benefit greatly from taking the points in this one.

Crimson is set to take on the Mystery Man in what should be a challenge for Crimson. Yes, Crimson is great, but how does he prepare for a man no one but Billy Corgan seems to know anything about? Plus, there’s only one match on Powerrr featuring the Mystery Man for Crimson to study. Will that lack of information hurt the War King?

Then there’s Slice Boogie vs. Jax Dane. Now, this is an interesting encounter. Dane has formed some kind of bond with Boogie in recent weeks, much to Crimson’s disgust. What that bond actually remains unclear at present but this match certainly raises eyebrows. Will the pair particularly want to hurt each other if they’ve formed some kind of alliance? We know they can hurt each other, as we saw in the Falls Count Anywhere match previously. What will happen here though remains to be seen.

Lastly, Jennacide is set to take on Skye Blue in which I predict big a victory for Jennacide. The woman is an absolute machine!

So, by my reckoning, I have it as Team Aron & Taryn will beat Team Kamille and Idol, and Team Pope and Velvet will beat Team Aldis and Melina. Will it go down that way though?

There’s only one way to find out: let battle commence!

Final Thoughts

This was not your usual episode of Powerrr, but then, these are not usual times. Not only do we have the excitement of the NWA’s historic return to The Chase in St. Louis, where NWA 73 and, perhaps more notably, the promotion’s first all-female PPV, NWA Powerrr, will be held, we now get the Champions Series which, based on this fantastic set-up episode, promises to be a real sports-based presentation that I would say a good chunk of the NWA fandom desire. This week’s Powerrr really put across why the Champions Series aims to be must-watch TV for wrestling fans, and I am perhaps the most excited I’ve been about the NWA since they announced their relaunch earlier this year with Back For The Attack.

After some definite peaks and a few troughs along the way, the NWA feels like it has found some direction and is make some exhilarating headway along that path. Whether it can stick the ride is another matter, but for now, I’m just going to enjoy the ride.

Written by Chris Flackett

Wrestling obsessed since '91. Lived through the Monday Night Wars and is still here to tell the tale. Major fan of Strong Style, technical and Super Jr. Wrestling, as well as big versatile hosses smacking the hell out of each other. Lives in Manchester, England.

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